Thursday, July 30, 2015

It All Began on This Day

Two years ago, I purchased my first typewriter and brought her home (well, to the hotel I was staying at...). We wrote two full-length novels together and lots of other words.

My 1935 Remington Rand Model 1 "Speed Portable." A classic and racked with sentimental value.

Photo taken the night of. The very first page, with a dried ribbon, carriage skipping, and crooked key tops.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Top 5 Best-Known Typewriters to 21st Century People

Typewriters have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the last fifteen years. The internet is awash with posts on forums asking "Found this in grandma's closet. What's it worth?" Younger people are turning to vintage technology to find their creative spark.

So, what models are the Internet generation looking at the most? No figures exist, but based on my own searches and perusal of online auction sites, I came up with five machines that seem to be enjoying the most attention.

1. IBM Selectric

So many people were acquainted with this machine during its reign of the office world. Even if a person didn't use it, they certainly heard about them. While the daisy wheel "wedge" typewriters eventually replaced it and are more commonly found today, the Selectric's reputation is still going strong.

2. Hermes 3000

A well-made typewriter that seems to be in a class of its own. It became "internet-famous" after Larry McMurty's infamous speech in 2006. Since then, the Hermes 3000 has received a new lease on life. Some love it. Others hate it. The speech got so much attention from online sellers that the Chicago Tribune did a piece about it.

3. Lettera 32

Yes, the Lettera 22 should be here (being a groundbreaking design and all), but since Cormac McCarthy's personal typewriter sold for over $250,000 at auction in 2009, the Lettera 32 has usurped its predecessor in online attention.

4. Quiet Deluxe

It's not hard to get noticed when you've got crinkle paint and glass keys. These have become popular as display items as well as writing machines.

5. Underwood No. 5/Royal 10

I've read a lot of articles on creative writing, whether it's about the publishing industry or advice about the craft itself. Lots of blogs and other websites use pictures of typewriters to set the mood of their piece. It's usually one of these two. They've been used in hundreds of Hollywood movies, recent titles including Misery and The Artist.

Agree? Disagree? What are your picks?

Power to the pen!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

For Sale

A friend of mine is trying to sell two typewriters: a Royal KHM and a 1940s LC Smith Super Speed. Both have regular length carriages and both are, to the best of her knowledge, in good working order.

Contact me and I'll hook you up! She really wants to sell these.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

SG3 Fixed!

Yeah, I'm a little more than proud of myself. Called Jones' Typewriter and talked to Charlie, who said my best bet was to bend the link bar so I could get enough leverage to hook both ends into their respective holes. Now I can use 3 and # again, which is great since I'm 300 something pages into the novel and kinda need that key.

But it came with a price...

The type bar no longer returns to its full rest position. Not sure what's interfering, but the "1/" key has the same issue (although the latter is frozen in place). I may have been too enthusiastic in my bending.

I also fixed the right margin stop!

See the two screws and the piece of metal marked "18"? That comes off, leaving the margin marker itself behind. Turns out you have quite a bit of room to maneuver the metal piece because the holes are bigger than necessary. So, all I did was loosen the screws and push the piece down until it was able to snag the margin stop without getting caught on the bell lever.

Once I figured out how the darn thing worked, the total time it took me was less than 15 minutes (it just took me three days to figure it out). I can see why so many people love the SG3. It's like the AK-47 of typewriters. So easy to take apart! I'd probably have never gotten this far with any other model.

There's still work to be done. I cleaned out the mice fur, but the inside is still a bit dirty. The spots on the outside did not respond to penetrating oil (maybe I used too little), and the "1/" key is frozen (not that I'll be using that much).

Other than that, this machine is ready to work! I'm anxiously awaiting my Olivetti 21 to come back from the shop. My Lettera 32 has been filling the gap in the meantime, but I've gotten accustomed to using bigger machines for my writing, so now I'll be switching to the SG3!

My SM3 turned out to have more problems than I thought, so it'll be going to Vern soon.

Power to the pen!

Monday, July 13, 2015

My New Olympia

Only one of you was correct when I asked you to guess my next Olympia typewriter.

Good job, JustAnotherGuy!

I snagged this big guy off Craigslist right before my darling wife and I went to the zoo. The owner said that it used to belong to her mother, who had it for personal use. Pretty epic home machine!

After falling in love with the SM3, I figured an Olympia standard would have the same quality. There was another SG3 for sale nearby for a whopping $100 (albeit, it near perfect condition). But I chose this one because I like brining machines back to life...and what I do is more akin to putting a band-aid on an injury.

There were a few more things wrong with this typewriter than I thought after an initial inspection. I had to use penetrating oil to free up the links (not in the segment, as is usually the case). The 3 link popped out of place because I used too much pressure. The right margin stop fails to catch the carriage when it's supposed to, and I've no idea how to fix it. The gunk on the outer shell hasn't been cleaned off yet. Not sure if it's rust or just a lot of hard crud. I'm hesitant to take a brass brush to it.

What surprised me was the fact that the entire keyboard is grey. No green keys anywhere, as was common for these 1960s machines (haven't traced the serial number yet: 7-191034).

Mice used to live here.

So much dust...

I'm sure Richard will appreciate these exotic characters.
The "1/" is frozen stiff. Can't get it to move at all.
Isn't ^ a mathematics character? 
I am a little frustrated at myself for breaking the 3 key and not knowing how to fix that margin. But what did I expect? This machine sat neglected in a person's garage for years before I came along. Other than those minor hiccups, it has a good platen and types well. A little more TLC and it should be back to prime condition (once I figure out the best way to do that...).

Best of all? It's got an identical font to my SM3! I like this interchangeability thing that's developing in my collection. My Olivetti 21/Lettera 32, Royal QDL (1949) and Royal FP and KMM, now these two machines.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

SM 3 Repaired!

Be sure to sign up for the chain letter! I'm sending it out next week!

Dropped a screw once or forty times, but now the SM3 is fixed!

Well, mostly. Still need to work on the type face alignment.

A big thanks to Richard in Chicago for supplying the parts. The bail bar was tricky. It seems you can't tighten the screws to full tilt or it will render the whole thing too stiff to return properly when you flip the feed roller switch. The replacement paper guide seems a little different than the one on the left (you can tell from this picture that they aren't exactly lined up). But it works, so I am not complaining.

Funny thing is that the carriage lock no longer works, so that'll be one more thing I need Vern to fix on Monday.

I'm adding one more Olympia to the fold very soon. I'd like to see if you guys can guess what it is.

Power to the pen!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Second Chain Letter!

The first chain letter was so much fun! I think it's high time for a second one.

You know the rules:

1. Send me an email with your address

2. The master list will include names in the order they contacted me

3. Once the letter arrives, answer the question posed by the person who came before you, then address a new question to the person who comes after you.

The results of the first one seemed to generate a lot of interest, so let's hope we get a lot more participating this time.

Now, for some wild sightings.

Courtney and I went to KY to visit the folks for Independence Day. On the way back, we stopped by to see Grandma in Blodget, and then at an antique store right off the road.

SCM Galaxie 12. Perfect working order. $40

Royal Caravan

This Dutch-made Royalite was very tempting, but I passed. It seems the main mechanism wasn't put back into the shell correctly and that made it prone to sliding out of alignment. It works, but I don't think $28 was a good deal for a machine without a front cover. Sure is pretty.

Montgomery Ward 8120D. Looks great, doesn't work.

This Woodstock has been here as long as I can remember. It's priced at an outrageous $95!
Even with the sale that was going on, it's not in my budget right now. Seems to work.
So, what did I get?

None of these.

I've had my eye out for an SM3 for some time. Ever since I fell in love with the italic burgundy one I picked up for $10, I've wanted a regular font piece to use in my fiction. I found this olive one for $30. It was between the SM3 and a mint Adler J4. Tough choice, once you see the minor flaws the SM3 I had to work around. Any tips on cleaning the outer frame without harming the paint?

The old ribbon was shot and I wasn't going to use WD-40 on a two-tone. I've never seen this hook-style eyelet before. Sure was easy to remove! The SM3 had some of the usual problems. The carriage had to be fixed with new rubber washers and the platen was filthy (hard too; might need to get it recovered). On top of that, the bail bar is missing along with the right side paper guide. No worries, I've got parts on the way.

The biggest problem will be the tiny amount of adjusting I need to do for the capital letters. I've read up on the proper way to get it fixed, and it ain't something I feel confident in doing. I'll probably swing by Vern's place to get some machines I dropped off, so that'll be a good time to take this up along with the Lettera 22. Yeah, it's not as bad as some others, but I notice it and I can't stand it.

Power to the pen!